(from the 15th century to the late 18th century) the chief magistrate of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.
- ‘William's eldest son Philip William was loyal to Spain so it was Maurits who was appointed stadholder of Holland and Zeeland, or the United Provinces of the Netherlands, in 1584.’
- ‘First, it was a republic with a stadholder as head of state, not a monarchy or empire like almost everywhere else.’
- ‘The final Anglo-Dutch conflict ended in 1674, ushering in a peaceful period that was reinforced when Mary, the English Catholic daughter of James II, married her Protestant cousin Williams ill of Orange, stadtholder of the Netherlands.’
- ‘Sarah persuaded Anne to support brother-in-law William of Orange, Protestant stadholder of the Netherlands, when he overthrew James II in 1688.’
- ‘The second phase began when disorder among the Spanish emboldened all the provinces to proclaim William their stadtholder, neatly reaffirming his imperial title while underlining their relative independence.’
Mid 16th century: from Dutch stadhouder deputy, from stad place + houder holder, translating medieval Latin locum tenens.